Patient0

Guide Series - How to Suck Less #3: The Art of Engagement

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Hey guys, this is my third submission as part of my article series. I would greatly appreciate topic suggestions as well as any criticism. You can also ask questions here or follow the stream and ask questions there. I stream Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays: Twitch. Today's article will go over the different methods of engaging enemies.


The Art of Engagement

Introduction
A fellow unicum once told me that you could reach dark purple simply through good mechanics. How you take your shots makes a big difference in certain situations. A lot of the time, you don't have the luxury of shooting an enemy while he's not loaded, so it is in your best interest to make your tank as invulnerable as possible. Better yet, you shouldn't even be visible. After all, the enemy can't shoot what they can't see.

Different Types of Engagements

As I mentioned in the intro, WoT provides you with a variety of ways to shoot at a tank, and it is in your best interest to choose the best. Here's a list from best to worst of different types of engagements that you'll encounter:

  1. Out of View Range: This is the best kind of engagement to have, not if you're on the receiving end of course. In tanks, this is the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. There's almost no way for the enemy to return fire unless they know exactly where you're shooting from, but most pubbies don't really blindfire. Most of the time, they'll be too preoccupied with whoever is spotting them to realize this. While this is the best way not to take damage, it also mitigates they damage you could do since RNG is more severe at these ranges and not everyone can lead shots like an aimbot. This type usually happens on open maps, like Malinovka, Prokorovka, or Lakeville.

  2. Camouflaged: Same idea as shooting from out of view range, only this time you can be even closer. Only problem is that in tier 10, everyone's view range is pretty much max, so you'd need to find insane camo value bushes like those on the 1 line in Prok to actually stay camouflaged. I typically avoid relying on bushes because of this. In low tiers however, feel free to do this since everyone's crew and view range are terrible. Maps to use this on are varied. Basically any map with a bush and an relatively open.

  3. Flanking, Misdirection, Distraction: This method has many variations, but it basically takes advantage of the fact that the enemy can only look at one place at a time. This works with routing the enemy's rear, shooting from a different, or just peeking very quickly and shooting if you think the enemy is dumb enough. This is especially effective on heavy tanks and tank destroyers, which are inherently slow and easy to farm. I use this method the most. Use this on all maps, especially ones with many avenues of approach, like Stalingrad or Himmelsdorf.

  4. In-between Reloads: Good for slower firing tanks since the chance of retaliation is lower. Typically you'll be shooting at them frontally, so gold is usually required. This is the second most used method. Useful on city maps and sometimes open maps.

  5. Tanking it: You have some sort of armor advantage and there is a ~70% chance that you will succeed in bouncing the enemy shot. Useful in heavy tanks in corridor deployment. You're increasing your chances of taking damage by doing this. Mostly useful on maps with corridors or corners.

  6. Trade shot for shot: If you choose this option, there better be a damn good reason for it, like killing the enemy top tier, or resetting cap. Every shot you trade means less HP to rely on in late game, where you would really appreciate some health for 1v1s. This is relevant on all maps, especially city maps.

Inherent advantage
These are situational characteristics that help you in engagements:

  • High Ground: Pretty much always advantageous, just watch out for TDs. High ground provides a many different angles for you to aim, but the opposite goes as well. It's very easy to over expose and be deleted off the map by arty or tanks. This situation usually occurs on maps like Mines, Malinovka, Prokhorovka, etc..

  • Hull-Down: Hull-down means that the upper part of a vessel or vehicle is visible, but the main, lower body (hull) is not; the term hull-up means that all of the body is visible. The terms originated with sailing and naval warfare in which the curvature of the earth causes an approaching vessel to be first visible "sails-up." Beginning in the 20th century, hull-down has also been used in armoured warfare. Reducing your tank exposure while only presenting your strongest armor to the enemy. While tanks with strong turret armor will utilize hull-down more effectively, even tanks like the 50B can do this to reduce the amount of tank that others can shoot at. Even tanks with sub-par depression can use this technique, but to do this requires practice and knowledge of terrain.This image pretty much explains hull-down for tanks with bad depression. Basically, you're tilting your horizontal axis of rotation so that it can be used as depression. Keep in mind that you are exposing your body, so do this quickly. The exposure is still minimal, so your tank will still be hard to hit.

  • Cover/No cover: You're in cover, he's not. This advantage exists in every map, and is the one used most often. If you catch an enemy in the open, and have cover, you force him to shoot at you reload speed. Even better is when there's multiple tanks shooting one in the open. The target can't aim more than one place at once, meaning that you and a platoon mate can take down a top tier without taking any damage at all.

  • Overmatch: You have the numbers advantage. This mean more damage output, more HP, and more targets the enemy has to keep track of in a slugfest. This can take place on a flank, in an alley, or across the map. Less effective than shooting from cover, but when it is crucial to take position, don't hesitate to ping your teammates to rush in with you. Make sure the first one to go in has the most HP, or the most armor. By doing this, you're using the distraction method mentioned above while overmatching, which increases damage dealt to damage taken ratio. Again, this advantage exists on most maps, but keep in mind, when you rush with only a slight advantage, the defender's has the better positions and better aimed guns. As a rule of thumb don't push into a corridor. Even if you have a 2k hp advantage or whatever, TDs/heavies can plug the corridor up and turn it into a slaughterhouse.


Applying to Gameplay

Okay, so you just read all these different types of engagements, but might not be sure how or when to apply them. I'll go over that in this section.
Mediums: In a medium tank, engagements will typically take place in medium and long range, which suits your class. This will allow you to first engage from outside of view range in early game, camouflage snipe if possible, Then move in to flanking and shooting distracted and reloading enemies while using hull down, cover, and high ground mechanics. Then only in late game or cleanup stage do you tanks shots, trade, and overmatch.
Heavies: Rarely should a heavy tank ever be shooting from out of view range or sniping. In terms of engagements, you should mostly use 3-6, with an emphasis on shooting between reloads, taking advantage of distractions, tanking shots, and overmatching. In the first few minutes, get early damage at medium range. Then, from now until you are winning definitively, you'll be slugging it out with all the enemy heavies while praying that your mediums and TDs keep your flanks safe and clear of sneaky mediums.
TDs: For lightly armored TDs, keep engagements at 300m+. Heavily armored TDs will be with heavy tanks, keeping the team's burst damage high.
Lights: Play like a medium, but even more like a scavenger. Mainly snipe, flank, and shoot distracted enemies, but don't overstay your welcome. 1-2 shots and then scram because arty and annoyed mediums/heavies.
Arty:


Afterword

Thanks for all the feedback from the previous post. I will mainly focus on mechanics and game sense rather than talk about convoluted topics. Keep giving me suggestions and criticism.

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Good topic, thanks for the write-up.   Things I sort of know, but always forget as soon as the match starts!

I do have a question about engagement though.  What do you suggest when you're locked in a bit of a stalemate?  I find this happening all the time to me, especially with heavies.  I'm holding a corridor, usually by myself or one other guy, and I'm either waiting around for an "in-between reload" or we're just bouncing each other from hull-down or side-scrape positions.  Especially with the "you shoot first" scenario, what do you suggest?  If I wait it out, i might not take a shot for 5 minutes.  If I relocate, I might give up the corridor.

Specific examples:  Tank Ally on Himmelsdorf.  I'll be holding down the fort but getting nowhere.  Do I just give up and look for damage elsewhere?  Potentially giving up the alley?  Also, the far east rock on Redshire or the east valley on Arctic Region.  Those are popular "wait till he shoots first" areas that can quickly turn into a Stalemate where nobody wants to shoot first.  Do I back up and hopefully coax them into doing something stupid?  And what if they don't?

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On 26/07/2016 at 4:14 PM, TheRealExcl said:

Good topic, thanks for the write-up.   Things I sort of know, but always forget as soon as the match starts!

I do have a question about engagement though.  What do you suggest when you're locked in a bit of a stalemate?  I find this happening all the time to me, especially with heavies.  I'm holding a corridor, usually by myself or one other guy, and I'm either waiting around for an "in-between reload" or we're just bouncing each other from hull-down or side-scrape positions.  Especially with the "you shoot first" scenario, what do you suggest?  If I wait it out, i might not take a shot for 5 minutes.  If I relocate, I might give up the corridor.

Specific examples:  Tank Ally on Himmelsdorf.  I'll be holding down the fort but getting nowhere.  Do I just give up and look for damage elsewhere?  Potentially giving up the alley?  Also, the far east rock on Redshire or the east valley on Arctic Region.  Those are popular "wait till he shoots first" areas that can quickly turn into a Stalemate where nobody wants to shoot first.  Do I back up and hopefully coax them into doing something stupid?  And what if they don't?

Hmm... i think it all comes down to 1 little detail... if you are able to keep doing what you are doing and succeed... if you managed to deliver damage without taking damage its all good... if not... all you have to do is stop blocking the flow... when you lock down a location, usually tanks stop moving... and tanks not moving usually means they are not making mistakes... the average player does not use the keyboard to his advantage... he uses it to kill himself most of the time. Sometimes all it comes down to its allowing the enemy to advance to where your own arty can kill them, instead of pushing too far and blocking the enemy in cover and getting yourself hit by arty... or simply not allowing the enemy to advance into a crossfire... a good example is Arctic Region and El Hallouf, usually the team that pushes farther has to be more skilled or it suicides into camping enemy, so if you dont want to lead a bunch of clueless players that apparently seem to randomly tap keys on their keyboard, make sure if you on the front-line you are not pushing too far... all it takes between having a team holding a position and waiting for the right moment, to a team pushing like yolo suicide its simply the guy that is in the front pushing too far too soon. It all comes down to probability mostly, and generally speaking if you want to improve all you have to do is allow the enemy to make a mistake.... instead of blocking him in the wrong position.

The tank alley you talk about in Himmelsdorf... i call it the banana, if you are unable to push and are only wasting HP make sure you fall back... but only if doing so means the enemy will push into a crossfire, and you will be there waiting for them, sometimes you need to allow the enemy to shoot the flanks of your teammates so they help you... sort of, remember at the end of the battle you dont get rewarded for your attempt at "something" for your "teammates" you only get rewarded for direct clear actions like damage and assisted damage, holding the enemy and taking shots is not directly rewarded.

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Very well put. Pretty much every thrown game starts with someone getting impatient and "trying to do something" there is a direct correlation between being patient and waiting for a good opportunity and winning games.

Also OP I love this series, keep up the good work. Thanks.

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btw why isn't this in the articles sectionot? it would make sense to be with the other two.

 

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One of the things I struggle with is target prioritization and threat identification. I'm not sure if it would be a broad enough subject for an article, but I know I would be happy to read it.

CW has drilled into my head over and over, shoot the low HP tank, especially if he is a one shot and you can take him out. Take guns out.

But it would seem like its a very fluid decision and I would expect a lot of "it depends" type answers. For instance, I think a T30 with 900 hp is a much more important target than a 150hp T32, even if my alpha is only 390. That T30 is a lot more likely to smash faces than the T32.

Apologies if that is a shitter suggestion, I just struggle with it...

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Great articles. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge.

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On 8/18/2016 at 7:26 PM, capt-jay said:

One of the things I struggle with is target prioritization and threat identification. I'm not sure if it would be a broad enough subject for an article, but I know I would be happy to read it.

CW has drilled into my head over and over, shoot the low HP tank, especially if he is a one shot and you can take him out. Take guns out.

But it would seem like its a very fluid decision and I would expect a lot of "it depends" type answers. For instance, I think a T30 with 900 hp is a much more important target than a 150hp T32, even if my alpha is only 390. That T30 is a lot more likely to smash faces than the T32.

Apologies if that is a shitter suggestion, I just struggle with it...

Well, yes... but you're not going to take out the T30 before he can shoot again... so by shooting the T30 vs the T32, you're opening yourself (or your teammates) up to return shots from both of them...or at least that's how it seems to me.

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